Dreaming need not be daydreaming. It is healthy, challenging, and exciting to wrap your life around a noble vision and to move toward its accomplishment.

Some holy dreams have been given directly by God. Paul, for example, had a dream about a man of Macedonia begging for the gospel to be preached to him. It became the spark for the great missionary to preach the gospel in Europe.

Other dreams arise from the heartbreak of seeing a situation that is evil and knowing it must be challenged. Martin Luther King Jr. had such a dream and verbalized it for a whole generation of Americans. It changed the world.

All dreams are future-oriented. Helpful ones are clear and vivid in their description of some desirable state of affairs. They channel energy and inspire commitment. They rally others to you and to your vision of the future.

What about it? Are you pursuing a great dream? Or are you just drifting? As we welcome the New Year, here are some things to ponder ...

  • Our dream needs to stretch you. When you put it into words, it should produce an audible gulp. Dreams should be big enough and noble enough that they challenge the best in you and the people around you.
  • You must reduce your dream to specific goals. Until you do, it has no handles to grab. Without specific goals, you have no idea whether you are getting closer to realizing it. "Do a better job at work" and "Lose some weight" aren't helpful; "Increase sales 20% by July 1" and "Lose 15 pounds by April 15," on the other hand, mean something definite and allow you to measure progress.
  • Dreamers must be flexible. People who do worthwhile things never abandon their ultimate vision but often have to change their strategies along the way. Stubbornness in method usually means trouble.

"The vision must be followed by the venture."
2004 is upon us now, fresh and ready for the living. If you can't tell yourself where you want to be at the end of this year, it will likely be lackluster and without much sense of fulfillment. Even with a dream fixed in your heart for the New Year, Vance Havner's words are noteworthy: "The vision must be followed by the venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps — we must step up the stairs."

So what is the vision for your professional life? Your family life? Your spiritual life? And what are the steps that will get you there?

I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams. (Acts 2:17)